Understory

Sand pounded from stone
then laced with lead gave
blue glass for fifty years
at a factory that owned
a pet town but quit feeding
it a hundred forty years ago

until it broke loose and looked
for something else to be
and now it’s as you see today,
hungry heap of houses kept
alive by cars that go too far,
thinking in dead of night

of the thread of fire that ran
down the side of a clay pot
when the glass cooked in it
and glazed those shards
that show up buried behind
backyard sheds. Cellars like

ours that murmur, We were
a city, we were a citadel of
glass gone under the ground.
We surface overnight in
splintered dreams no one
alive now understands.

 

Royalty

How excited you were to land a job
working for local millionaires, freeing
them to spend more time bickering
with one another. You said, I wonder
where this could lead, I wish someone
would look in the cards. So I did: king
and queen barricaded in their castle,

unconcerned behind walls commoners
couldn’t breach. But still you stayed
dazzled by the dazzle, you drove
every day to deal with workers never
paid, said sorry for insults you never
said. When your grandson killed
himself they sent no card and showed

no interest and when you saw them
later, they managed to remember
something had happened but hey,
they were so busy and away besides
abroad. They grinned the grin good
enough for a local who should by then
have grasped the way it goes at court.

 

Invandrarflickor (Immigrant Girls)

My grandmother last saw Sweden at six
months old, yet in Kane she grew up much
as she would over there, in a house full
of sil and torte with köttbullar for New Year
and glögg forbidden for the religious yet
secretly fermenting in every root cellar.
Her father was a handsome zealot with

a nervous disorder we all inherited and
when he could tell the saints were calling
him, he bought his wife a boarding house
where even the unsaved groveled for grytstek,
which as far as I can tell is Swedish for
pot roast in its jacket of kanel, muskot, and
krydpeppar, known here as cinnamon,

nutmeg, allspice. In Sweden, food and fertility
were equally flattering, and that helps
to explain all those good girls pregnant
before marriage, sneaking out the big
hinged porch windows at night smelling
of cinnamon, saying, Shhh, don’t you
tell Ma. I won’t. Don’t you tell, either.

 

Feeding the In-Laws

The French-speaking priest came
to my great-grandmother’s table
once a week, one of the men who
made excuses to drop in on days
when she made pork or frycakes
or tourtière or beer stew, or pike
caught at the ferry dock across

the street, with homemade elderberry
wine and the vat of blancmange
she baked every Wednesday. He
wasn’t invited the night her daughter’s
young man sat to dinner there with
his sharp-tongued younger sister,
who sided with her elders in those

times when the English and French
still fumed about the wars they’d fought
along the Canadian border. But Sophie
fed her full and the young man’s sister
ate like a fiend and once she’d been
soothed with good food, my eventual
great-uncle on my grandmother’s side

asked her, So what do you think of the
French people now? My eventual great-
aunt on my grandfather’s side leaned
forward to peer down the table at him
and told him, As far as I’m concerned,
you can tie them all in a bag and throw
them in the St. Lawrence River.

 

Detour

On the day you threaten to leave
I find Fawdrey Road and follow it
on foot, stopping to pick up mirror
bits broken off cars in past accidents
and to pry beer tabs off flat cans
so kids can get dialysis, unless

that’s another hoax and the ones
I’ve collected in the cupboard
will wind up dumped in the woods
with everything else the recycle
trucks downstate unloaded on
the sly earlier this decade. Things

don’t always mean what they
mean. For instance, when I was
so distraught over divorce, but
now you are tribal in your ties. If
someone must go, let it be one
who bet on buyer’s remorse.
A big dog barrels out of a yard
barking so I turn back the way

I came. If Fawdrey Road teaches
anything, it’s that no route is right,
no track takes you home when
there may be no home left to go to.

 

Laurinda Lind

Laurinda Lind

Some of Laurinda Lind’s poetry acceptances and publications have been in Anima, Antithesis Journal, Comstock Review, The Cortland Review, Earthen Lamp Journal, Far Off Places, Metaphor, The Moon, The Muse, Off the Coast, Paterson Literary Review, Sonic Boom, and Two Thirds North.

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